U2 frontman Bono alerted a crowd of 50,000 at Winnipeg’s Canad Inn Stadium on Sunday evening, May 29, that “tonight is Amnesty International’s 50th birthday.” The date is slightly off, but the human rights organization was founded in London, England 50 years ago, following an article written by lawyer Peter Benenson in The Observer newspaper May 28, 1961, captioned The Forgotten Prisoners.
Holding a pint of Guinness beer, Bono said, “Fifty year’s ago Amnesty was formed because two Portuguese students were imprisoned for seven years for toasting to freedom. So in their honour, we will toast to freedom and might you join us singing happy birthday to Amnesty International,” which the crowd did. “A toast to freedom,” he said again.
“Hang on, we’ve got another special message which was unbelievable, even a year ago,” Bono added.
Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi then appeared on the cylindrical screen above the stage, with a pre-recorded video message that is now part of U2's 360 Tour for 2011: “After many years, I am finally able to speak to you. You who have crossed such distances, have sent such support to Burma, we thank you. You are students, teachers, workers, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers. You are music fans, U2 fans like me,” she smiles.
“When you raise your voices, we hear it in our country and around the world; they are louder than any rock band, than any army, than any rocket fire or fighter jet. Your voices are the future — the voices of reason, equality and justice.
* Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.